Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster Company
36 Main St., South Freeport
Let’s say your friend from away is coming to town, the one who’s never been to Maine before. She has to have lobster, of course, preferably while seated by the sea. The idea of pulling off a lobster dinner yourself sounds tedious and, honestly, you can’t bear to kill or boil the damn things alive. But the prospect of going down to Portland’s waterfront this time of year and braving the throngs of sun-visored tourists clogging Commercial Street seems worse than murdering a few crustaceans.
Your solution lies outside of town, at Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster Company, in South Freeport. You have to take a couple winding wooded roads off Route 1 in Freeport (not far, but this will impress your friend) before you reach the restaurant, which sits beside the Harraseeket River near the inlet to Casco Bay (a handy location for an operation that also includes a lobster pound).
Service is provided in no-nonsense Maine fashion: BYOB, cash only, order at the counter. The food is similarly unfussy. The menu offers all the classics — from fried shrimp to seafood chowder, clamburgers and hamburgers — and you can order lobsters cooked or live (to go) at the lobster pound’s window around the corner.
My out-of-state friend wasn’t due to arrive until August, so I decided to make a test run to Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster last month. My husband and I showed up on a weeknight around 8 and the place was quiet, but don’t expect the same scene during, say, lunchtime on a weekend. We scored the best seats in the house: a row of bar-style stools perched above the water, so close you feel you could almost dip your toes in. There are also picnic tables on the deck and seating indoors.
The fare is prepared the way Maine seafood should be, fried or steamed or boiled, sans frills.
The Lobster Delight ($24.95) was indeed delightful: a one-pound lobster, an ear of corn and a dozen steamed clams, served with plenty of melted butter. While my husband made short work of that plate, I dug into another classic, the lobster roll with fries ($16.25). Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster’s version is the Platonic ideal: big hunks of fresh meat dressed in mayo and nestled in a grilled New England-style hot dog bun. The sole garnish is a leaf of lettuce.
Not that we needed more food, but on top of all this we split an order of huge, golden-fried onion rings ($4.95). We also each had a Coke ($1.95), which brought our tab to $50.05 before tax and a few bucks for the tip jar. If you have a sweet tooth (and room for dessert, which we decidedly did not) you can grab a brownie or a cookie for a couple bucks or splurge a bit more for homemade pie or Gifford’s ice cream (when in Maine…).
Since the place is BYOB, I’ll bring a few Maine microbrews along next time. And I’ll definitely be bringing my friend.
— Hannah Joyce McCain